Around The World In 80 Babes: Chapter 36 – blood On The Sheets

Around the World in 80 Babes

2005 CSSA Award Winner for Best M/F Series

by: TRL

Chapter 36: Blood on the Sheets

Codes: M/F, Voy, First

Celeb: Natasha Beddingfield

Disclaimer:

WARNING: The Following work of Fiction is strickly in
the mind of TRL, and exists nowhere else. This is a
good thing, because a lot of (not-so) good people die
in this story, and TRL does not support murder 75% of
the time (Anyone killing Kevin Federline or any member
of the New York Yankees is committing an act of
National Defense, and should be awarded in my book).
That said, this story
isn’t true, never will be true,
and you should take it as such. Also, it is the
author’s firm belief that the singer mentioned within
(one lovely Natasha Beddingfield) is a virgin at this
time. Should that not be the case… well good for
whoever scored with her, because she’s a keeper! Sure,
it kinda ruins this story, but hey – as I said before
– it’s fiction! Oh, yeah, don’t read if you’re too
young, too dumb, or have too large a stick crammed up
your butt. otherwise, enjoy!


July 22nd, 2005

The London Excalibur Hotel

London, England

The door to the penthouse suite swung open and Richard Stall hauled a nubile form of a young blonde into the room, his lips on hers, her arms wrapped around his neck. He could feel one of her nipples poking into his chest from underneath her flimsy dress, and knew she was aroused. He was willing to bet that if he put a hand between her legs, she’d be sopping wet, too. Judging from the hungry fashion in which she kissed him, there was no way he wasn’t going to get some tonight.

He had expected it, of course. One didn’t walk around with a wristwatch full of a potent aphrodisiac and three or four hidden micro-cameras hidden on his body without expecting to get a little action. But even with that in mind, he was a little surprised. If the rumors were true, than his partner for the evening was a devout Christian – and a stedfast virgin.

If that was true, there was some evidence. Her kisses, while hungry, lacked practice. Her caresses, while needy, were hesitant. And she seemed about as tense as a woman ever got while in a man’s arms.

Stall had been after celebrity women for sex tapes for more than six months now. During that time, he’d scored tapes of fifty different women ranging from actresses to singers to models to sports stars. He had blondes, brunettes, and redheads on tape, and skin colors ranging from white to black and almost everything inbetween. He’d gotten tapes of married women, engaged women, and completely free women. He had some of the most reserved women in Hollywood to some of the biggest celebrity sluts in the world.

But he didn’t have a virgin. Until now.

As Stall dropped his latest conquest onto the king-sized bed in his suite, she looked up at him almost apologetically.

“I’ve never done this before,” Natasha Beddingfield said sheepishly.

“You haven’t?” Stall asked, undoing his tie.

“No – I was saving myself for marriage.”

“You were?” Stall asked carefully.

“I have to have you,” Nastasha said, reaching down and slowly unbuttoning her blouse. “I’ve never felt this way before. I’m so turned on! I need sex!”

“If you’re sure you want it, I can give it to you,” Stall said, fighting back a smile. Lambert’s chemical wasn’t really giving the poor girl a choice. Not that Stall minded at this point. Time to earn tape number 51.

* * *

July 22nd, 2005

Outside The Mansion of Richard Stall

London, England

Darkness had settled over London hours ago, and for the most part, the only action was fixated in the city proper. On the outskirts of town, where there were fancier homes and mansion, things had gone quiet quite some time ago. And while the Police made sure the streets were clear of trouble, they were generally busy with other problems in other parts of town. There was a large fire out by the River Thames, and reports of a rather rowdy street gang causing problems in the financial district. The rich and famous would have to fend for themselves on a night like this.

Most of them wouldn’t have problems. One particular home, though, would.

The assassin known as Chough had been stationed in the steeple of a church more than thirteen blocks from Richard Stall’s mansion for more than seven hours now. At this range, he could cover any window on the south-eastern side of the Stall mansion, and that was where most of the larger, front-facing windows were. By changing the angle of his rifle only a few degrees, he could cover just about every window, insuring that if he had a shot, he could take it quickly.

Chough wasn’t the only one stationed outside at the moment. Magpie and Rook, two more assassins, were hiding in the yard next to Stall’s property. They’d had to sneak in and murder the housekeeper the day before, but the family itself was on vacation in the south of France at the moment, and wouldn’t be back to find the body for another week – not that Magpie and Rook wouldn’t have killed them, too, if they’d needed to. Now they waited inside a line of bushes nearby the property line with more than enough gear to get past the electric fence and storm the backside of the mansion.

Jackdaw was there, too, hidden in plain sight. Disguised as a female police officer, the tiny woman appeared to be armed with little more than a billy club, but in fact had three pistols, six knives, and a garrotte hidden on her that wouldn’t be found without a full pat down and strip search. Her main job was to keep an eye out for Stall’s return. When the time came, she’d be ready to help storm the front door.

Backing Jackdaw up would be Raven and Crow, both hiding in a parking spot three blocks away. They sat in a black mini cooper that was sized just right for Raven, but seemed almost comically small for Crow. Their job was to rush in, smash through the front gate, and go in through the front door, guns blazing.

Six assassins, all with one real goal – the death of Richard Stall. One way or another, it was all going to be over before the sun came up.

* * *

July 22nd, 2005

The London Excalibur Hotel

London, England

“Oh my god!” Natasha moaned as Stall’s mouth found her bare nipple, eliciting feelings the young virgin had never felt before. Stall had managed to get her top and bra off, with only some mild blushing on Natasha’s part. Now, with the rest of her skirt bunch around her waist, and her legs slowly spreading, Stall slowly ran his hand up her left thigh, eliciting a gasp, and an almost instinctive tightening of her legs.

“You okay?” Stall asked, making sure his breath hit her erect nipple as he spoke.

“Y-yeah,” Natasha said, letting her legs relax. “I’m just a little scared, that’s all.”

“We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Stall said. He was lying, of course, but he wanted Natasha to think this was all her idea. He was a gentleman, after all.

“No, I want this,” Natasha said. “Please, take off my panties.”

Trying hard not to smile too much, Stall reached up under Natasha’s bunched up dress and felt the smooth silk of the last of her underwear covering her crotch. He could feel the heat radiating out of her pussy as he gently stroked the silky panties a couple of times before hooking his fingers over the edge of the fabric.

“Raise your arse, sweetie,” he whispered at her. Natasha visibly swallowed, but didn’t hesitate to lift her ass up off the bed. Stall slowly pulled the white silk panties down, off her crotch, over her legs, and finally off her body all together.

Stall moved up away from the young singer long enough to take off his pants and boxers.

“Can I see it?” Natasha asked as Stall swung back around.

“See it?” Stall asked.

“Your penis,” she said quietly, almost blushing. “I’ve never really seen one before. I mean, I’ve seen pictures, but I’ve never touched one before.”

Smiling, Stall lay down on his back next to Natasha. “Go ahead,” he said, motioning towards his crotch. Natasha pulled herself up onto one elbow, her blonde hair falling before her face for a moment. As she brushed it aside, Stall admired how her breasts hung from her chest. There was something quite beautiful about natural breasts.

“C-can I touch it?”

“I thought that was what you wanted,” Stall replied, smiling despite himself.

“I do,” Natasha whispered, reaching out to gently wrap her fingers around Stall’s erect member. Slowly, she stroked it up and down, unknowingly giving Stall a slight hand job as she got first hand knowledge as to how a penis felt.

* * *

July 22nd, 2005

Outside The Mansion of Richard Stall

London, England

Midnight was fast approaching now. The plan was simple – strike hard and fast as the calendar changed. And Crow would be happy to do so.

“You are certain he’s in there,” Crow muttered into his head microphone.

“Positive,” Slide’s mechanical voice came back. “There are eight people total inside the building, one near the front foyer, two more walking about the upper levels. Three more seem to be huddled around a TV or something in the center of the mansion’s second floor, and two more are standing just outside the door to the room those three are in.”

“No doubt guards,” Jackdaw muttered through her mic. “They may prove troublesome if we don’t get to them fast enough.”

“I can hit at least one from here,” Chough replied from the church steeple he was hiding in. “I’ve got at least one of them in sight as we speak. They aren’t exactly moving around a lot.”

“Any chance to hit the second one?” Raven asked.

“If he moves towards the window,” Chough replied.

“Take out the first one when we move. The other may move into your sights soon enough,” Rook muttered.

“Two minutes,” Magpie whispered over the radio.

“Everyone in position?” Raven asked. There were a series of double clicks over the radio as all six assassins confirmed.

“One minute, thirty seconds. Go time, Jackdaw,” as Rook spoke, Crow pulled the car he and Raven were hiding in out of it’s parking spot and headed towards Stall’s estate, rapidly picking up speed. At the same time, the disguised Jackdaw started crossing the street, slipping her hand into the back of her police jacket to get the hidden weapon she kept there.

“One minute,” Chough spoke up. “Rook, Magpie, go.” From next door, the two assassins stepped out a side door and started running towards the tall fence that separated the two properties. At the same time, Magpie pressed a button on her watch, activating a line of concentrated thermite strips placed along the wall. In a brilliant, but rather quite flash, they cut through the metal fence just as Rook and Magpie hit the wall, bashing into Stall’s property.

* * *

July 22nd, 2005

The London Excalibur Hotel

London, England

“Oh!” Natasha gasped as the head of Stall’s penis pressed against her hymen.

“Are you ready?” Stall asked.

“Yes,” Natasha whispered. “Fuck me, please!”

“There’s my naughty little girl,” Stall said. “Hang on, this will hurt a bit.” Gently, Stall pushed his hips forward slightly, pressing his rock-hard member against the flimsy little stitch of fabric that marked Natasha Beddingfield’s virginity. For half a second, there was some resistance, and then suddenly Stall broke through, causing Natasha to cry out.

“Ouch!” She said.

“You okay?” Stall asked, not moving. Had he looked, he would have seen a slight trace of pink growing on the sheets beneath Natasha.

“I-I think so. Please, go slow.”

“Sure,” Stall said, smiling down at her as he slowly started pressing in again. Slowly he started sliding into the young pop star once more. It took a few minutes – Natasha was understandably tender down there – but soon enough, they were working at a decent pace.

“This feels amazing,” Natasha gasped as Stall plowed into her again, gaining speed with every thrust.

“That’s why everyone’s doing it,” Stall said, reaching down and playing with one of the blonde’s tits.

“I wish I’d done this sooner,” she panted.

“Don’t worry, you can make up for lost time,” Stall said, pressing in hard to emphasize the point.

“I want that,” Natasha moaned as pleasure seeped through her body in ways she’d never felt before.

“What do you want?” Stall asked as he held off for a second.

“Don’t stop!” Natasha moaned. Suddenly, Stall dropped his finger down to Natasha’s clit, rubbing it as he began taking shallow strokes into her with his penis. Natasha’s eyes went wide as a whole new set of sensations hit her brain.

“Oh my God! Fuck me, Richard! Fuck me right now!!!!”

* * *

July 23rd, 2005

Outside The Mansion of Richard Stall

London, England

Midnight struck at the Mansion of Richard Stall with the sound of a window breaking, and two doors crashing in.

The window broke as Chough pulled the trigger on his sniper rifle, killing one of Stall’s two towering guards instantly. The doors broke down as Rook and Magpie came in the back, and Jackdaw, Raven, and Crow smashed through the front door.

Out front, Pierre DeLaCourt was the only person in the foyer, silently working on some paperwork before making an important business call to South America. As the door slammed in, Richard Stall’s personal assistant stood up, eyes wide and jaw wide open. He saw a woman in a police uniform step through the broken door frame, a pistol in her hand and a wicked smile on her face.

“Sorry for calling so late,” Jackdaw said, aiming her pistol right at DeLaCourt’s head and pulling the trigger twice. “We’ll let you sleep now,” she said as she splattered his brains across the far wall.

“How droll,” Raven muttered, coming in behind her and rolling her eyes. “Stall’s upstairs.”

* * *

One doesn’t assault a building without making some noise, and sure enough, the assassins efforts to bust into the Stall Mansion were heard throughout the building.

“What the hell was that?” Michael Burke asked as the sound of breaking glass hit the room.

Richard Stall and Marissa Call looked up from the TV screen showing Stall’s seduction of Natasha Beddingfield earlier in the night.

“Sounded like glass breaking,” Stall said, standing up.

Suddenly, the door to the room burst open and Patrick, one of Stall’s two towering bodyguards Chelsea Smythe had forced upon him dove into the room, pistol drawn.

“Sniper!” Patrick roared, hitting the floor and rolling just as a large hole errupted in the door itself. Marissa screamed.

“We’re trapped!” Burke said, rolling his wheelchair over towards where Stall and Marissa were standing.

“Where’s Matthew?” Stall demanded.

“Dead,” Patrick replied as the sounds of more gunshots filled the air. “The sniper’s not alone.”

“Where the hell are Smythe and Appleberg?” Stall asked, heading towards his desk.

“If they’re still alive, they’re helping,” Patrick replied simply.

“And if they aren’t?” Stall asked.

“Then we’re in a lot of trouble,” Patrick muttered.

* * *

“We’re breached!” Tchelet Appleberg shouted as she ran down the hallway towards Chelsea Smythe. “Two through the back, three through the front. At least one sniper outside.”

“I’m not even going to ask how you know all that ten seconds into this mess,” Smythe muttered as she threw open the door to her room. Diving down beside her bed, she reached underneath and pulled out a long metal case. “Can you find the sniper?”

“Yes,” Appleberg replied simply.

Smythe pulled out a sniper rifle and handed it off to the other woman. “Then take him out and come help me.”

“You can handle five on your own?” Appleberg asked as she loaded the rifle.

“No,” Smythe said simply, grabbing a couple of guns from the case herself.

* * *

“I’ve got no shot anywhere,” Chough replied through the radio.

“You sure they’re all still inside that room?” Jackdaw asked.

“Outside of the two running around in the upper levels, yes.”

“Don’t let any of them out of that room. Stall has to be there,” Raven muttered.

“We’ve lost the element of surprise already,” Rook spoke up. “We need to finish this fast before the police get wind of what’s going on.”

“We need to just finish this,” Crow muttered. “Once and for all.”

“We will,” Raven assured him. “We will.”

* * *

Given the choice, Tchelet Appleberg would’ve taken a higher vantage point for her shot – on top of the roof, or even from one of the taller trees outside. The Stall Mansion was impressive, but it was also located in some pretty thick suburbia of London. Trees were few and far between, and the time it would take Appleberg to climb one would be paid for in blood. Chelsea Smythe needed backup if she was going to get Stall out of there, and that meant taking the Sniper out fast.

Fortunately for Appleberg, she’d canvassed the neighborhood shortly after Griffin Security took the Stall assignment. She knew there were only three possible sniper locations that could hit at the room Stall was in. And she could reach any one of them from where she stood right now, just to the left of one of Stall’s top-floor bay windows. The problem was guessing the right one. As soon as she broke the glass and shoved the rifle outside, she’d have maybe five seconds to find her target and pull the trigger. If the sniper was worth his salt, he’d already be training in on her, simply due to her movement. If Appleberg wasted more than five seconds, she’d probably end up with a round through her head. And THAT wasn’t something she felt like experiencing today.

The first thing Appleberg did when she was assigned a new location to protect was run through how she’d attack the place. The sniper was the best choice for getting at Stall – the fool hadn’t even replaced all his windows with bullet-proof glass yet! He was too busy with his secret meetings and his womanizing to really worry about his own security. Well, maybe now that he was mere minutes away from death, that would change.

From her own attack plan, Appleberg knew that the church steeple thirteen blocks from the mansion would be her first choice – it was the highest locale in the area that still provided some secrecy for anyone willing to wait up there. Chances were, that’s where the other sniper was. If she was right, she stood a chance of taking him out. If she was wrong, she and everyone else in the building was dead.

The sound of gunfire from below told Appleberg that she was out of time. She took three long, slow breaths to calm her nerves, made sure the rifle as loaded and ready to fire, and spun out, smashing through the window.

* * *

Chough was an expert sniper – had been for years. He didn’t see Appleberg break through the window so much as he felt her do it. It was a matter of heartbeats to swing his own rifle up in line with the broken window, where sure enough, a person was looking out.

What surprised Chough was that the person in question was aiming her own sniper rifle right down Chough scope!

“What the fuc-” He started to say, applying pressure to his own trigger as a tiny flash of light surrounded the person in window.

The back of Chough’s skull exploded outwards before he even realized the other person had fired. In all, only four seconds had passed since the window broke.

* * *

To get upstairs to the area Richard Stall and crew were hiding out in, there were a pair of matching spiral staircases that deposited travelers into the same stretch of hallway. As Rook and Magpie moved up the back stairs, they covered each other, one moving ahead of the other around the corner while the one behind covered them. Across the way, the team going in the front was doing the same thing. Larger, easier to ascend stairs were available, naturally, as were elevators, but they were too far away to reach Stall’s room quickly.

This slowed both teams down, but didn’t stop them. They’d gone into enough hostile buildings that this was old hack for them. Usually, they were being shot at by now.

As Rook and Magpie exited onto Stall’s floor, Chelsea Smythe made the attackers feel a little more at home.

Automatic weapons weren’t easy to come by in England. But Chelsea Smythe had connections, and a legal licence to carry them as need be. As such, the Sig550 assault rifle she’d brought with her on the Stall assignment felt right at home in her hands as she fired off a few rounds down the hallway towards Rook and Magpie.

The two assassins dropped back onto the stairs, neither taking a hit. This presented Smythe with a big problem.

She was on one side of the stairs, and Stall was on the other. Both spiral stairs exited before her, and it was clear from the sounds that more trouble was on it’s way up.

If Appleberg’s count was right, there were five attackers in the building. Chances were, they were all between her and Stall. Plus, she had no idea if Appleberg had taken out the sniper or not, or if Patrick and Matthew were still alive. Worse case scenario, she was the only one left – even Stall could be dead by now, shot down by a sniper’s bullet. But she couldn’t leave until she was sure. And she couldn’t be sure until she got past the attackers.

“Mother told me there would be days like this,” she muttered as she dove for cover behind a thick-looking bookshelf on one side of the hallway. Several shots sliced past her as she did so, telling her that the attackers knew exactly where she was. She slung the Sig550 over her shoulder on a strap, and pulled out her other two guns. One was an Uzi, the other a 9mm Barretta. She switched the Uzi to automatic and took a deep breath. She had to get past these guys before they got off the stairs, or she’d never get past them – they could leave two behind to keep her pinned in place, while three more went on to kill Stall. She needed to move, and she needed to move now.

Bringing the Uzi out from behind cover, she pulled one long blast on it, forcing the gunmen on the steps to take cover. And then, she ran.

Short, controlled bursts kept the attackers on the back staircase pinned down as she tried to run the fifty feet between the bookcase and the other side of the stairs. What she’d do after that… well, she’d figure that out when – and if – she got there.

She’d almost made it to the stairs when she caught movement on the front stairs out of the corner of her eye. She’d just run out of time – the rest of the attackers had made it up the stairs!

Her Barretta barked once, twice, three times as she dove towards the floor, sliding on the hardwood past the surprised attackers, allowing the fabric of her clothes to carry her as far as they would. She twisted over onto her back as she slid past, ignoring the groove her Sig550 slashed into Stall’s floor, trying to keep some level of fire on both sets of stairs as she skidded to a stop against an antique loveseat that wouldn’t last three seconds against even one gun, let alone five. All of a sudden, Chelsea Smythe was all out of cover, and all out of options.

She kept firing down the hall at the stairs, mostly just slashing large chunks out of the wood and plaster, but hopefully keeping the heads of the attackers down.

And then her Uzi clicked on empty. She was out of ammo.

“Go!” Someone shouted from the stairs, and a head came up, followed by an assault rifle. Smythe had just enough time to register the fact that it was a woman’s face above a police uniform that came into view before she pulled the trigger on her Barretta one last time.

* * *

Raven and Crow were right behind Jackdaw as the woman leapt past the stairs, throwing ammo around like it was going out of style. Whatever Stall paid for the walls in his mansion, it wasn’t enough, because wood and plaster fell down all around the assassins like rain. They had to give the woman credit – she was putting up more of a fight than even Garcia de la Graza’s guards did back in Columbia. Too bad they’d have to kill her – Blackbird was always looking for new talent.

And then came the unmistakable sound of an automatic weapon clicking on an empty clip.

“GO!” Rook shouted from across the hall. Jackdaw jumped off the top step and spun towards the woman, bringing her assault rifle up. And as Raven and Crow watched, Jackdaw’s throat exploded in blood, sending her sprawling back down the stairs on top of them. Raven and Crow ducked as the body flopped over them and crashed onto the floor below, dead eyes staring up at them.

“NOOO!!” Rook screamed out, firing from the other stairwell. By the time Raven and Crow got back up to the top, the woman had slipped into another room, apparently having gotten past them without taking a single hit.

“Bitch!” Raven snarled.

“Chough, we need you to take out a new target,” Jackdaw spoke into her radio as Rook kept a level of fire on the door the woman had just dove into. “Chough?”

Raven grabbed her own radio. “Chough, do you copy? Over.”

There was no answer.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Crow muttered. “They got Chough?”

“We aren’t here five minutes and they’ve already taken out a third of our group!” Rook snarled.

“Welcome to the world of Richard Stall,” Raven said.

“We’re used to this,” Crow muttered.

“Well I’m sick of it,” Magpie muttered, grabbing a grenade off her combat webbing. Pulling the pin, she chucked it towards the door the woman had jumped through. “Fire in the Hole!” Magpie shouted as the four remaining assassins ducked for cover back down the stairwells. The explosion shook the entire building, and more wood and plaster fell from the walls. As the noise died down, Raven and Magpie looked up over the stairs to see smoke wafting out of the room.

“Why’d you warn her like that?” Crow muttered as the men joined the two women on the landing.

“Force of habit, I guess,” Magpie said. “I always yell Fire in the Hole when I throw a grenade. Besides, what’s she going to do, duck for cover under the bed or something?”

“You got a point,” Rook admitted. “No one who was in that room is still drawing breath.”

“Let’s just go kill Stall now,” Raven sighed.

Suddenly, there was a clinking at the feet of the assassins. All four looked down at floor in time to see a grenade coming to a stop between all four of them.

“COVER!” Rook shouted as all four killers dove for the stairwells. The shock of the explosion sent them tumbling, Rook, Crow, and Magpie down the back stairs, Raven down the front. Raven ducked into a roll and managed to get down without injuring herself, but she landed flat on her back in a pool of Jackdaw’s blood.

“Who the fuck threw that second grenade?” She snarled as she struggled to get to her feet.

* * *

“Good thing I never yell Fire in the Hole,” Tchelet Appleberg said to herself as she ducked around the corner from the room she’d taken shelter in. She seriously doubted any of the assassins died in her little grenade attack – they’d all spotted the explosive as soon as it hit the floor. But they’d be disoriented for a moment or two. And she needed information before she did anything else.

Not bothering to wait for the smoke to clear, Appleberg looked out across the hallway. She’d succeeded in stopping the assassins from making it down the hallway, that much was clear. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be going any further, either. Her grenade had more or less gutted the floor of the landing, leaving a gaping hole and shattered wood where she needed to go. She was still stuck on the wrong side of the hallway.

“Tchelet?” a voice called out. Looking across the hole, Appleberg saw Chelsea Smythe coming out of another room.

“Sniper’s gone,” Appleberg commented. “This floor’s clear, but I’m cut off. You’re going to have to get Stall out on your own.”

“Right,” Smythe said.

“How’d you survive that first grenade?” Appleberg asked.

“These rooms are all connected to each other – while these guys were shooting at one door, I slipped out another. They blew up an empty room.”

“Then they don’t know the entire layout of the mansion,” Appleberg said.

“Doesn’t look that way.”

“Then we still have an advantage.”

“You want to try jumping this mess?”

“No,” Appleberg said, looking down at the wood. The assassins would be up and moving any second – no doubt heading for another set of stairs. “They’re not done yet.”

“Then we need to get Stall outside,” Smythe said.

“Do it. I’ll catch up,” Appleberg said. “I need something other than this Sniper Rifle.”

Smythe pulled the Uzi off her shoulder strap and threw it across the hole. Appleberg caught it one handed. “Only has the one clip, but that one’s full.”

“You didn’t bring a spare?”

“That one IS my spare.”

“Right. I’ll be careful.”

“You’d better be. Meet us at the garage. We’re leaving,” Smythe said.

“Give me ten minutes,” Appleberg said. “I’ll meet you there.”

* * *

“Two explosions,” Stall said as the mansion shook. “You don’t suppose that was both Smythe and Appleberg?”

“Causing them maybe,” Patrick said, hugging the wall near the door. The towering black man had a sheen of sweat covering his face now, despite the fact that he hadn’t moved more than an inch in the last couple of minutes. All that gunfire had told the group trapped in the room that someone on their side was still alive. Now all that gunfire had stopped, and Stall seriously doubted that everyone who’d come to kill him was dead that quickly.

“Lambert, where the hell are those security cameras?” Burke muttered into the laptop microphone.

“I’m working on it, but whole chunks of the house have suddenly gone dark,” Tom Lambert shot back in the ears of Stall, Burke, and Call. Only Patrick didn’t have an earpiece, which was ironic, since as a bodyguard, he probably needed on more than any of the other three. “What the hell is going on there, anyway?” Lambert demanded. “It’s like someone’s been blowing up half the estate.”

“They ARE blowing up half my estate!” Stall snarled. “And they’re trying to take us with it!”

“Marco!” A voice suddenly called out.

Patrick seemed to deflate in front of everyone. “Polo,” he said back. “Get your ass in here!”

Suddenly, the door swung open and a gun-toting Chelsea Smythe entered.

“Thank god,” Stall said. “Are they gone?”

“Hardly,” Smythe said. “Tchelet just bought us a few minutes. Mr. Stall, all things considered, we need to get the bloody hell out of here.”

“Agreed,” Patrick said. “Are the stairs cleared?”

“You could say that,” Smythe frowned. She suddenly realized that the stairs Appleberg just blew up were the closest ones to where they were – and the only other way down from where they were at the moment was a lift. Common sense said using a lift in a time of emergency was like writing your own death warrant. But with no other option short of finding some sheets and scaling the outside of the building, the service lift on the far side of the hallway was probably their only chance. “Stairs are gone. We need to use the service lift at the end of the hallway.”

“If the stairs are gone, any of the attackers still in the building probably know that, too,” Patrick replied.

“That’s right,” Smythe sighed. “But if we stay here, they could very well burn the building around us.”

“Could we climb down the outside of the building?” Marissa asked.

“Uh, no offense, babe, but my climbing skills aren’t what they once were,” Michael Burke retorted.

“Oh my god!” Marissa said, shocked that she’d forgotten that fact.

“Apologize later,” Smythe said, looking out the door. “We need to move NOW.”

“What happens when we get down to the bottom floor?” Patrick asked.

“We shoot our way out,” Smythe said. “And hope we have more ammo than they do.”

“Why don’t I like the sound of that?” Stall asked.

* * *

“The god damn landing’s gone!” Rook snarled from the top of the stairs. “We aren’t getting up there without falling back down in a hurry.”

“What now?” Crow asked.

“Are there any other ways up to this side of the mansion?” Magpie asked.

“Just a lift at the end of the hallway,” Crow said. “Raven, do you copy?” he spoke into his radio.

There was no response.

“Don’t tell me they got her, too,” Magpie said.

“Nope. Radio’s are out,” Rook said, dropping his from his ear. “Chances are the shockwave took them out. Damn things are too cheap. Remind me to bring that up with Blackbird when we get home. I saw Raven jump down the other stairs. If she’s still conscious, she’ll catch up with us.”

“Guaranteed,” Crow muttered. “C’mon, let’s go finish the job.”

“Chances are, they’re going to be coming down that elevator,” Magpie said.

“That’s insane. They have to know we’ll be waiting for them.”

“Yeah, but if they stay where they are, we can either wait them out or burn the mansion down around them.”

“I vote for the burning,” Crow said.

“Later,” Rook replied.

* * *

“This would be a wonderful time to have the use of my legs back,” Michael Burke muttered as Patrick and Stall carried him to the lift. It had been a pretty quick bet that pushing the wheelchair to the lift and out the bottom floor would be too risky. However, that meant carrying Burke, and neither Call or Smythe were quite up to the task. Not that Marissa didn’t try – she still tried to support Burke’s back as the two men hefted the third one down the hall. Smythe lead the way, her gun held at the ready, just in case anyone came down the hallway to meet them.

They had only three guns between the five of them – Smythe’s Sig550, her Barretta, and Patrick’s pistol. That wasn’t a whole lot of firepower compared to what the enemy had brought, but Smythe also knew that Appleberg was out there, somewhere, coming to help as fast as she could. If Appleberg could reach the lower levels in time to draw some fire, they just might be able to shoot their way out without getting all killed.

Smythe hated “ifs” and “mights” and “maybes” in situations like this. Not that there was much they could do about it now.

“Here’s the elevator,” Marissa said as they reach the end of the hallway. The lift was on the back side of the hallway, meaning that if the enemy was waiting for them, they’d probably be set up just back down the hallway, behind any cover they could scrounge up.

“Stall, you, Burke, and Call in first. Put Burke down on the floor as best you can without covering too much of the floor,” Smythe said as the doors to the lift opened. As Patrick helped put Burke down on the ground, she looked at the large bodyguard. “You ready for this?”

Patrick replied by lifting his pistol. “You know it.”

“Good. You and I go out the door first. Don’t fire unless you’ve got a shot or there’s a lot of shooting going on.”

“Just in case they aren’t down there?” Patrick smiled.

“Exactly,” Smythe said as the lift doors closed and the lift descended.

* * *

“It’s already coming down!” Crow shouted as the assassins reached the lift doors.

“Back, back!” Rook cried out. “Find some cover, quick!”

The three killers dove behind bookshelves and into doorways just down the hall. They took their rifles out, and all aimed down the hall, ready to cut anyone coming out the lift doors to pieces.

And then, suddenly, a familiar clinking nosie was heard again. Rook looked down from where he stood in a doorway in time to see another grenade rolling down the hall towards them.

“Not again!” he shouted, diving into the room as far as he could go. Magpie was in another doorway, and she, too, dove in as far as she could. Crow, however, was only behind a bookshelf, and there was only one way for him to go – down the hall. He took off running, but didn’t make it far before the grenade exploded, throwing him down the hall and into the far wall. He was surrounded by blackness before he hit the floor.

* * *

The lift rocked as the explosion shook the house, and suddenly the downward movement stopped.

“Uh-oh,” Smythe said.

“Oh, great, now we’re trapped!” Burke spat out.

“Any idea what floor we’re closest too?” Stall asked.

“First,” Patrick replied. “Has to be.”

“Let’s get these damn doors open,” Smythe said. “Patrick, Stall, start pushing. I’ll cover.” She stood as far back as she could in the elevator and lifted her rifle as Patrick and Stall started shoving against the door.

Slowly but surely, the lift door slid open inch by inch, and all that greeted them was smoke. They were less than a foot away from the bottom floor, which would be helpful when they got out – assuming no one shot them when they got out. For a long moment, the only sound they heard was the grunting Patrick and Stall made as they shoved.

And then, suddenly, a new voice came through the smoke.

“Marco.”

“Polo!” Smythe called out. “Tchelet, next time you set off a damn grenade, try to make sure we’re on the ground floor first!”

“Sorry,” Appleberg said as her hands reached in and started pulling the lift doors open. Marissa came forward and helped, too. Soon enough, there was enough room for everyone to squeeze out.

“Whoa!” Stall said as he stepped out and found Crow’s bleeding body before him. “I see you’ve been busy, Miss Appleberg.”

“You could say that,” Appleberg replied.

“Hey, I know that guy!” Marissa said. “He’s the one who attacked Michael!”

“I don’t think he’s going to be bothering us any more,” Smythe said. “Come on, we need to get out of here. There’s got to be at least three more out there.”

“Car’s this way,” Appleberg said, leading the way. Once again, Stall and Patrick lifted Burke and they rushed down the hallway, looking to escape.

“Bastard,” Marissa muttered quietly down at Crow’s body. Hauling back, she kicked him in the ribs once before running after the others.

* * *

They made it maybe fifty, sixty feet down the hallway before more trouble fell on them. Appleberg and Smythe had just passed a doorway when it came flying open in the face of Patrick, Burke, and Stall. Marissa screamed as gigantic Samoan man came flying out at them, pistols drawn.

“Die, Stall!” Rook screamed as he aimed his pistols.

Patrick saved Richard Stall’s life by shoving Burke and Stall into the next room as forcefully as he could. Unfortunately for Patrick, Rook was pulling the triggers on his pistols before he could get through the door himself. A pair of nasty wounds opened up on the black man’s chest, sending him flopping back down the hall, nearly falling on top of Marissa Call.

“No!” Smythe shouted, spinning around and pulling the trigger on her rifle. Half a dozen rounds slammed into Rook’s back from five feet away. Under any other circumstance, Rook would’ve been dead. But he didn’t come racing into a situation like this without some body armor. He twisted back around towards Appleberg and Smythe, ready to blast both girls when Appleberg’s Sniper Rifle barked.

Smythe was rather glad she wasn’t looking at the Samoan’s head when it nearly evaporated from the impact.

“HELP ME!” Marissa screamed from under Patrick’s body.

“Hang on, we’re coming!” Smythe said, checking Patrick’s pulse. There wasn’t one. “Damn it,” she whispered.

“Time for remorse later,” Appleberg reminded her. “We need to leave now.”

“Right,” Smythe said, helping Call up. “Where’s Stall?”

* * *

“You all right, Michael?” Stall asked as he picked himself up off the floor.

“Banged my head a little, and, oh, yeah, I still can’t walk. Other than that, just peachy.”

“Your sense of humor needs some timing lessons,” Stall said. “Why the hell is it so dark in here?”

“No idea,” Burke replied. “Who shut the door, anyway?”

“I did,” a voice said suddenly.

“Oh, crap,” Burke muttered.

Suddenly, Stall was thrown off his feet by something heavy hitting his chest. He tumbled to the ground, hitting his head against some hard piece of wood as he landed. His eyes exploded with stars, and for a long moment, he thought he was going to pass out. Then a heavy weight landed on his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs.

“Time to die, Richard Stall,” a woman’s voice said. In what little light was seeping into the room, Stall was able to make out a nasty-looking knife danging in front of his face.

“Forget it, bitch!” Michael Burke shouted. Suddenly something flew through the air, slamming into the side of the woman’s head. She snarled and twisted back towards Burke.

“You’re next, cripple,” she said.

Suddenly, the door burst open, and light flooded the room. Stall saw the lithe young black woman on top of him recoil as the light dazzled her eyes, and then saw Tchelet Appleberg come flying across the room to tackle the assassin.

“About bloody time!” Stall said as the two women wrestled on the floor. “Someone shoot her already!”

“Can’t,” Smythe said, grabbing Stall by the arm and yanking him to his feet. “Might hit Tchelet. Help Burke!”

Stall raced over and grabbed Burke’s left arm – Marissa Call was already lifting the right. Together, they managed to get Burke off the ground, but Stall suddenly realized that Patrick must have been carrying most of Burke’s weight earlier – with just him and Marissa, the going would be slow.

There was a strangled gurgle for the far side of the room, and Stall turned just in time to see Appleberg standing up over the body of the black woman, the hilt of the knife sticking out from between the assassins breasts, blood pooling around her limp body.

“We still need to get out of here, people!” Smythe yelled, running to the door, checking the hallway. For once, no one seemed to be coming at them. “Let’s go, let’s go!”

The group started out the room, and back down the hall. The going was not fast. Stall and Marissa frequently had to stop and readjust how they were holding Burke, who was about as ticked off about being carried as a man could get.

And then the smoke came. Wether it was one of the three different grenades that had gone off, or something the assassins set themselves, it became clear pretty quickly that the mansion was indeed on fire somewhere.

“Lambert?” Stall called out, hoping his ear piece still worked.

“Here, boss. I can’t see a damn thing in the entire house. All I have is the outside cameras, and then only about half of them. The cops should be there by now.”

“Well they sure as hell aren’t,” Stall muttered. “What about the garage?”

“I’ve got an outside camera on there. The door’s up, but all the cars are there. I don’t see anyone around them,” Lambert paused for a moment. “Boss, there’s an awful lot of smoke coming out of some of the top windows in the place. I think there’s a fire.”

“Thanks for the update,” Stall sighed. “We aren’t far from the garage now. Call the fire department, get them here, too.”

“Already on their way, boss.”

“Lambert, have you seen Pierre?” Stall asked as the group went around a corner and headed back towards the garage.

“Sorry, boss, I haven’t,” Lambert said.

“He should’ve been here,” Stall said quietly.

“Uh, not to make things worse,” Burke said. “But it’s getting kinda hard to breathe up here.” Stall looked up to see the smoke gathering around the ceiling, not far from Burke’s head – which, truth be told, wasn’t that far from Stall’s head, either. They were running out of time.

“Move it, people!” Smythe said, kicking open a door to reveal Stall’s garage. “Grab the nearest set of wheels that’ll carry all of us!”

“Lambert, we’re in the garage. Keep an eye out for us!” Stall said as they made their way over towards a limo. “Who’s driving?” he asked.

“I am,” Appleberg said, racing towards the driver’s side door.

“Oh, good,” Burke said as Marissa yanked open one of the back doors. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to learn just how lead my feet are these days.”

“Move it, move it!” Smythe said, helping to shove Burke inside the limo.

“We’re in!” Stall said a moment later as Smythe slammed the door shut behind her. Appleberg didn’t even wait for them to get buckled up. The limo roared to life and jumped out of the garage.

* * *

Crow’s eyes fluttered open to find Raven standing above him, half covered in blood.

“S-stall?” he croaked.

“Escaped,” Raven muttered, pulling Crow to his feet. “Again.”

“The others?”

“Dead. Every one of them.” She pushed him forwards. “No time to talk, the place is burning down around us.”

“This is really getting old,” Crow muttered as Raven helped him escape the building before either the police or the firefighters arrived.

* * *

July 23rd, 2005

The Streets of London, England

London, England

Midnight had struck not twenty minutes ago, and in those twenty minutes, Richard Stall had lost his mansion, his assistant, two bodyguards, and nearly his life. He was far from happy.

“What do we do now, Boss?” Burke asked as Appleberg drove through the streets of London, past police cars and fire trucks, ambulances and TV vans. The mansion of one of England’s wealthiest individuals had just started burning to the ground, with reports of gunfire going off before the blaze. There was no chance in hell of this not making the news tonight.

“We don’t go back, that’s for sure,” Smythe said, finally putting her Sig550 down. “With all due respect, Mr. Stall, perhaps you should consider a trip overseas for a bit. Preferably somewhere far away from London.”

“What about the police?” Burke asked. “I mean, they’re going to want to question us about what happened.”

“I can get us around that,” Smythe said. “If we stay here, anyone of the attackers who came after us who managed to survive will have it that much easier to come after us again. Getting as far away from here as possible is the only way we’re going to stay one step ahead of these guys.”

Stall set his jaw firm for a moment, looking out the back of the limo as the fire in his mansion lit the sky above. ‘How very funeral pyre-like,’ he mused to himself.

“I think, perhaps, you’re right, Miss Smythe. Tell me, how does everyone feel about Japan these days?”

“I think it beats London right now,” Marissa Call said.

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